Sunday, March 08, 2009

One That (Maybe) Got Away

Brian Vickers’ blue No. 83 had Kurt Busch’s blue deuce in its sights, slowly reeling in the leader as the two fought toward the scheduled finish Sunday at Atlanta Motor Speedway.

(Cue the untimely caution.)

But the 11th yellow flag of the Kobalt Tools 500 waved with four laps remaining, halting Vickers’ pursuit of Busch and setting up a green-white-checkered finish. A thin lead group of cars, all running on aging rubber and low of fuel, had no choice but to pit. Vickers peeled onto pit road in second and peeled off in sixth, and he picked up one position in the final two laps to give Red Bull Racing Team its first top-five finish of the season.

The result was Vickers’ third consecutive top 10. He’s gained 29 positions in points in the past three races and sits 11th entering the bye week.

As Busch celebrated in victory lane, all Vickers could think about was what he lost — a shot at his second Sprint Cup victory and first with Red Bull Racing Team.

“We would’ve finished first or second — or wrecked trying,” Vickers said. “We obviously had the better car there at the end. Kurt and I were running the same line, so it wasn’t going to be easy to pass him. He was driving his butt off as well. I’m really proud of the Red Bull guys. I had a great car all day.”

Before the final stop, Vickers last pitted under caution on lap 262. He came in fourth, left in second and five laps later the No. 83 and a handful of other leaders stayed out when Scott Speed’s No. 82 and the No. 6 connected to bring out the 10th yellow. On the restart, Busch and Vickers pulled away to make it a two-car show, and Vickers at one point cut Busch’s lead to less than a second with 17 laps to go as they used every inch along the outside wall.

“We always seemed to have one of the best cars — if not the best car — at one point throughout a run,” Vickers said. “I was really hoping it would stay green. It was going to be a great race to the finish with Kurt and I.”

As for Speed, who fought an ill-handling car, his day ended with a wrecker towing the No. 82 to the garage. After the contact coming off turn four, Speed’s car darted right and scraped along the frontstretch wall before creeping to a stop. Speed was OK, but the rookie was credited with 35th. The No. 82 ranks 37th in the car owner standings — 30 points from the top 35.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

It was a great effort. Qualifying upfront helps a lot. I think that maybe if that last caution didn't come out, Kurt Busch could have brushed the wall again because he was pushing his car really hard to keep BV behind.

7:14 PM  
Blogger Nomar said...

Good race today. Real proud of the team. That kind of effort will wield Chase results.

8:26 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Awesome job for Brian, I think it could have been yours. As for Scott.....I'm beginnng to think it's the car and not the driver. Scott's car just doesn't have what Brian's does. Does the 82 team not have the same tools? Better luck to both in two weeks! I think there will be a Red Bull car in Victory Lane SOON!

5:50 AM  
Anonymous 83fanatic said...

What does the 82 not have? an experianced driver! I hope the braintrust in Austria is happy with rushing SS to Cup! Great job by the guys who build the cars they are obviously fast. The 83 has been great all year...keep minimizing the bad finishes, and running where you are, the wins will come!

6:38 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Good Job #83! Keep up the good work!

10:28 AM  
Blogger pinkbeaver said...

ss better really start practicing his turn table soon and redbull better get skinner on the phone

4:02 PM  
Blogger doby1kinobi said...

scott speed has cost red bull racing at least ten times the amount in cars as he has earned in winnings. great business decision. cant wait to see him start missing races soon. shoulda kept aj

4:39 PM  
Anonymous Tracy said...

I wish the AJ versus Scott debate would end already, and that is from a diehard AJ fan. Quit comparing the two, please.

The only thing Scott lacks right now is experience as a driver. When AJ started, the whole team lacked experience. There just is no way to equally compare the two.

People forget that for all the experience in racing that Scott has, even in ARCA and Trucks, that he is a Cup series rookie. With his handful of starts last year and now this year, he is doing fine. Some good runs, some not so good runs, some bad luck. Don't knock the guy just because Red Bull wanted him instead of AJ.

11:43 AM  

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